We don’t count

11 Mar 2010

With the 2010 U.S. Census coming up, there’s been a lot of talk about how important it is for government to count its people.  How can you set policy if you don’t know how many people there are? Exactly. Which is why, for example, New York City sends hundreds of volunteers out, one night each year, to count homeless people

So, how many street vendors are there in New York? Nobody knows. In November 2008, at a City Council hearing, Council Member Leroy Comrie “strongly suggested” — in fact he “respectfully demanded” that the city conduct a count to see how many vendors there are. Discussing a plan to issue more licenses, he said, ”I don’t see how we can move forward as a city until we get a real count.”  The city reluctantly agreed. (Here’s part of that transcript)

Its now a year-and-a-half later. How’s that vendor census coming? We haven’t heard a word, making us feel like, when it comes to the Bloomberg administration, vendors don’ t count.

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